Weight loss injection set to be approved by NICE

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Tuesday 15th February 2022

A weight loss injection could soon be available on the NHS following approval in draft NICE guidelines. 

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has recommended the jab, semaglutide, for people who struggle to lose weight. The injection will be known by its brand name, Wegovy. 
The draft NICE guidelines have not yet been fully approved, but they recommend the treatment for obese individuals who have at least one weight-related health issue, such as heart disease or high blood pressure (hypertension). The treatment would be prescribed by trained health professionals for a maximum period of two years. 

Under treatment guidelines, patients would be able to inject themselves using a pen-like device, which is pre-filled with semaglutide.
Wegovy is designed to help people to lose weight by making them feel fuller for longer, which encourages them to eat less. During trials, obese individuals lost an average of 13kg (approximately 2 stone) when using the treatment alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise. 

Health professionals advise people who are finding it hard to lose weight to consult their GP for advice. Most people are able to lose weight by changing their diet and eating habits and increasing their activity levels, but some people find weight loss much more challenging than others. The weight loss jab is designed for those who are obese who have found it difficult to drop excess weight through diet and exercise alone. 

NHS statistics suggest that around 1 in 4 adults are obese in the UK. In 2018/2019, more than 11,000 people were admitted to hospitals in England as a direct result of obesity and weight-related conditions. 

Helen Knight, from NICE, described managing weight and tackling obesity as “one of the biggest challenges our health service is facing.” She added that obesity is a “lifelong condition that needs medical intervention, has psychological and physical effects, and can affect quality of life.”